I CALL BULLSHIT!!!
So there's this quote... You've all heard it. You've all seen it. Some of you agree with it. Some of you live by it. No matter how good your heart is, eventually you have to start treating people the way they treat you.
I was on the fence. Now let me tell you this year has been focking torturous. Mentally and emotionally thus it affected me physically and I gave up/gained weight etc. I was in a rut, I didn't want to get out of bed most days. Life seemed pretty pointless. Everything that I was once sure of and felt so solid to me in my hands, turned to sand, to dust and filtered through the fingers of my life, pretty damn quickly to be honest. A future I could once see so beautifully clear became blurry on the edges, slowly swirling and distorting until it was completely obliterated - gone.
I would wake up, wishing I could go back to sleep and dream the days away. I would lie awake staring at the ceiling wondering what the hell life held for me now, what is my purpose, why the fock am I here? Why is my body still breathing, keeping me in this when my soul feels dead. Everything felt so heavy, all the time, just breathing was like a lead weight in my chest, anti depressants and Zapain lulling me every night into blackness, emptiness, a place with no feelings. Bliss.
I hated the world, I started to feel bitter. I have literally been fighting since I could draw breath. I spent my whole upbringing never feeling enough. Never good enough unless it was getting beat or sexually abused out of me. Sex was love. Obedience was love. Fear was love. It was so so easy to give in to it all. To be promiscuous to feel enough, to feel needed, to feel loved. To people please to be wanted, to be somebody else's ideal to be good enough, to be anything but myself to be loved. It was forever a battle between wills in my head to be submissive to be accepted or rebel and be the cunt everyone else is, to be cruel and judgemental and harsh.
Until I sat with myself and called BULLSHIT on the whole focking world. Two evils do not make a right. If I treat others like a cunt, we're just going to have this massive bitter world full of cunts. Full of hate, of obedience, of two faced people, of the correct labels and the correct look to fit some other cunts ideal of what is perfect in life.
THAT IS NOT ME. No matter what this world, this life has thrown at me, I have powered through with glorious purpose (Loki pun!) to want, to believe, to hope that there is more out there that this constant drivel of shite! I changed my second name to Hope for a reason. There is always Hope. Always.
I'm different. There is absolutely no focking doubting that. I'm too soft. I'm too much a dreamer. I believe in happily ever after, in fairy tale romances, in growing old with someone, in belly laughs, in eye opening adventures, in making memories. I'm not a realist. I feel everything too deeply. I think too much. I love too much. I hope too much. The problem has never been that I'm not enough. I see it clearly now that I have always been TOO MUCH because I have never found a soul big enough to accept the muchness that is me.
I used to have this profound fear that I NEEDED to be married to be accepted. I'm not christened you see and I believed if I was not married either in the eyes of the universe I wouldn't be enough for the afterlife. My place would not be secure. I would not be good enough to be there either. As much as it is my dream to be swept off of my feet by my soulmate one day and be married and adventure and grow old together. I'm happy to wait. And I will wait. As long as I need to wait. And if it doesn't happen to me. That is ok. I will know it is not because I'm not enough, but because I am too much for one person and have too much love within me to be contained. I will spread love wherever I go and if I open doors of bitterness and hate, I will not treat others how they treat me. I will simply shut the door and walk away knowing whatever room is beyond that door, is not enough to contain the muchness that is me.
Life is focking magic. Really it is. Every where you look. Every little thing about it is just beautiful. It hurts my heart so much that there is as much evil in this world as there is. But I would rather flit through life believing in the magic, in the beauty, hoping and dreaming. Then succumb to the evil and blend into that bitterness and lose myself in the process.
The past year was full of changes for me as I’m sure it was for you. And as most years do, this one went by seemingly at the speed of light. So much so that I haven’t had a chance to reflect too much on anything that’s happened – the good and the bad.
With the new year on the horizon it’s important to let go of any baggage that’s weighing you down and make space for what’s to come for you - all good things I hope.
January is a time to start afresh, but you have to address the things that held you back in the previous year. Otherwise, you risk falling into similar habits and chasing the same dreams without success.
If you’re ready to make some space in your life – physically, mentally, and emotionally – here are 10 things you should let go of before the new year rolls around.
10 Things To Let Go Of Before The New Year
1. Fear of the future
Most of us feel motivated at the start of a new year with excitement around our new goals. That being said, the new year can also be daunting. You might not have a solid plan or bucket list for your future, and things might feel more unknown than ever. If you’ve been feeling unsure of where you’re headed or what the future might hold, don’t stress. When you try to imagine a whole year in front of you, it’s only going to cause you to panic. Instead, take things day-by-day and don’t feel like you have to have your whole life figured out before the new year starts.
2. The need to be busy
Over the past few years, self-care has become one of the most talked-about topics. Even so, I still don’t think we’re taking self-care seriously, we need some discipline when it comes to making time for ourselves. Most of us feel the pressure to stay busy due to societal expectations, but it can also come from avoiding the things you need to address in your life. Let go of the need to be busy and embrace self-care to the fullest this next year.
3. Bad spending habits
How was this year for you in terms of money? Did you find yourself spending more than you should have? Look through your past spending history and see if there’s one area where you can cut down (Justeat, is that you?) and make a goal for the new year.
4. People on your timeline who drain your energy
Cutting people out of your life is easier said than done, but it’s a lot easier to control on social media. If you’re following people who anger you, post too much, make you feel jealous, or make you feel negative – unfollow them. If you can go beyond the timeline and cut out negative friendships and relationships IRL, that’s even better.
5. Criticism of what you didn’t accomplish
Though the end of the year is a time to reflect on the good, it can bring up a lot of regrets and ‘should-haves’. If you review the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year and find that you haven’t accomplished them yet, don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s always time.
6. The need to figure everything out
As put together as other people may seem, it’s rare to find anyone whose life turned out the way they planned it. Instead of forcing yourself to try and ‘figure your life out’, give yourself a little space to let life happen to you. Amazing things happen when you least expect them to. Getting frustrated because you haven’t figured things out isn’t worth it.
7. Physical clutter
Physical clutter can have a huge impact on your mental state of being. If your space is brimming with things you don’t need, consider making some physical space for the new year. Get rid of clothes you’ve never worn, declutter your home, and create a peaceful space around you.
Why not try giving this blog a read on tips to declutter and simplify your life?
Top Tips To Simplify Life - TheWarriorLady
8. Fear that you won’t be successful
When you tell yourself that you’ll never get anywhere, the chances of you getting anywhere are pretty slim. Use the time before the new year to reflect on the thoughts you have about yourself and your abilities. Your mindset plays a huge role in your success (whatever success means to you) so make this next year the year of believing in yourself.
9. Lack of self-discipline
I mentioned in this post that self-discipline is such an important part of self-care, and it’s also an important part of achieving your goals. These days, everything and everyone is competing for your attention. Without self-discipline, you risk getting distracted by everything. If you have the ability to do what you say you’ll do and stay focused, you’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
10. The need to be in control
Stress happens when you feel like you’re not in control. The hard truth is that you’re not in control of most things in your life. You can rarely predict how the next chapter of your life will play out, so avoid wasting your energy on trying to control everything. Accept that you cannot control the circumstances of your life, but you CAN control your reactions to the circumstances.
A good additional read to add on to this point would be Letting Go Of what we cannot control & Going Foward With Intent. - TheWarriorLady
Thank you for reading.
Happy New Year.
Going forward with intent.
I don’t know about you, but I feel pretty proud that I made it through this year in one piece. As I analyse the ups and downs, I recognize how momentous life truly is, no matter how chaotic it's been. One thing I have massively struggled with this year was the emotional cycle of excitement, frustration, sadness, hope, excitement, frustration, sadness, giving up etc It was vicious. Every single thing I had planned and had to look forward to was cancelled, so I'd rearrange, focus my thoughts on the next plan and it would inevitably come crashing down again with lockdown after lockdown until I became stuck in this emotional tunnel. It is easy to get stuck in the tunnels of our minds; to fret, pick and prod and overthink. Inevitably wearing ourselves down emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Often, we don’t complete the stress cycle because we live within a social construct that keeps us quiet. Dr Emily Nagasaki says “Think of emotions as tunnels. If you go all the way through them you get to the light at the end. Exhaustion happens when we get stuck in an emotion.”
The burnout I experienced this year was a result of not allowing myself to fully feel fatigued, frustrated, or sad. I grit my teeth and hit the pavement by responding with a busy trauma based "keep busy" ethic so I don't have to acknowledge how I feel, until I crashed and burned.
So as you reflect and project, and even make new years resolutions. I highly encourage you to remember a simple guiding force that you may already know: you have no control over the past, very little over the future and no control whatsoever over how other people treat you, only to how you respond. A lot of what weighs us down is not actually ours to carry, let go of thing's you cannot control.
Let It Go
I begin by asking myself, “How does worrying about this help me or make me feel better?” Try writing it down, by doing this I can see that there is no chance of influencing or changing the outcome, so I need to try to let it go and focus inward on myself.
So next, I write down, “What can I do to change my reaction towards things?” or "What boundaries can I put into place to protect myself?" and go from there.
BOUNDARIES ARE A FORM OF PROTECTION.It was January/February this year when I discovered that I had no clear set boundaries. I allowed others to invade my physical and emotional space and disrespect me. I prioritized their needs and in turn, denied my own. I learned quite early on that life is unforgiving. What I didn’t yet realize, was that the person that needed the most forgiveness was myself. Instead, I turned outward and showered the world with the kindness and love I so desperately needed myself. This pattern served its purpose for the circumstances surrounding my childhood but afforded little utility to my adult life. The consequence of having no clear boundaries was that I became disconnected from myself. Piece by piece, I chipped away integrity and authenticity. After being so far removed for such a long time — I eventually lost myself along the way. Physically, emotionally and mentally I had reached my absolute limit.
At its core, boundary work involves self-care at the deepest level. Practicing healthy boundaries is a powerful way to practice self-love and acceptance, both inward and outward. I was able to finally put my foot down and say that “this is enough” when I realized that I am enough. Like any worthwhile endeavour, boundary setting is a necessary practice that requires commitment and cultivation. I imagine a boundary as thin, transparent, film that surrounds and keeps me safe.
Finally, “what can’t I influence or change now (or maybe even ever?)”
First and foremost, you can’t change the fact that we are amid a pandemic, and plans are changing weekly, if not daily. There may of been hiccups this year, but we can’t change that or dwell on it. Here are some things I like to do to lessen the stress when I feel it bubbling up.
I like to go for a good walk to, whack my earphones in and zone out/focus on what needs to be done. Regular aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall tension levels, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can begin to stimulate anti-anxiety effects! You tube "lazy girl workout" for a quick effective, low impact workout for a nice pick me up.
Or maybe even a pamper? Schedule in a little "Me" time, a good soak in the bath and a shave usually has me feeling like a new woman, along with painting my nails and a good ole facemask.
I also find baking extremely therapeutic and rewarding. So I could even have a workout, whip up a loaf cake mix and get it in the oven, then go for a soak and a pamper whilst it's baking. Treating myself after my pamper to a nice brew and a slice of cake with a good book = The ultimate in good pick me up vibes. Speaking of vibes...
Be aware of Your Energy
Now, your energy is kind of the catch-all for this section of intent. When you focus your energy or vibe on feeling happy, joyful, and excited about things, the chances are it will rub off on those around you too. By merely “putting out those good vibes,” from the way you speak on the phone to the excitement you create will make people feel welcome and happy around you. This will help to relieve any bad juju that may be floating around in people’s minds during this time of unrest. I'm a strong believer in bad juju and that we should treat others how we want to be treated- You reap what you sow and all that jazz.
Make time to do nothing. Yes. Really.
My brain is an organ. It needs care and restoration too. If you haven’t noticed, as I lay out my own intentions for the new year, I’m a driven, goal-oriented person who plans and plans and plans. I have no patience for unproductive days. And thus, what I really need is an unproductive day. Go figure! It’s like giving my muscles a break from exercising. They can’t strengthen without a rest day. Sometimes a full day isn’t attainable but even just a few hours to lie around, whether in some grass or on a couch, binge watch Netflix or get lost in a good book can really work wonders.
Maybe its the shift in the world wide spiritual energy at the moment or maybe I'm just fast approaching a mid life crisis? I don't know. But either way I've been sitting on my thoughts and pondering life and my life's purpose a lot lately. Which I guess is normal when life is topsy turvey and you're in lockdown after lockdown and everything you were once looking forward to has now been cancelled. There's not much else to do other than reflect that energy inwards and ponder the little things- or are they the big things?
I feel like life is running away from me, slipping through my fingers before I can catch it, breezing by too quickly. My babies are no longer "babies" (even though they are) they have their own personalities and their own life's dreams and goals. They're independent and free spirited, full of character. I know, before I know it, they'll be off, flying the nest and out in the big wide world on their own adventure-living.
And it's frightening. I want nothing but love and happiness for them and a life full of beautiful memories. I can only hope I have given them good foundations to build on and a zest for living. Have I done enough? Have I tried my best for them? Have I done them proud?
Will they remember my sleepless nights, the days I've been too exhausted to cook so ordered in. They see it as a treat night, I see it as a rest. Will they understand the sacrifices, the inner struggles to be a good mum, whilst trying to grow and be a good person myself. Will they understand the difficult choices that I've had to make in order to protect them. Will they remember the days I didn't want to get out of bed but instead took them for days out. Will they remember the parent partner craft sessions I attended, will they remember me screaming at the top of my lungs on sports day and competing in the mums race, will they remember me crying with joy, smiling while watching their concerts. Will they appreciate my bluntness and my willingness to answer every nitty gritty question they throw at me from questions about pregnancy, sex, birth and bisexuality to the meaningful ones about family always coming first, reincarnation and heaven. Will they have each others back when I'm gone. Will the memory of me and what I leave behind be enough for them?
There's no right or wrong way to parent. WE ARE ALL WINGING IT. I know 90% of parents do the best they can for their tribes and wear the same holey knickers and misshapen bras for years so that our babies don't go without. We won't blink an eye spending hundreds on them but spit out our brews at the sheer thought of spending it on ourselves. We all change and adapt our parenting technique by looking up at our parents, my mums mum parented a certain way and there were things my mum would of done differently so she changed that pattern raising her own. I watched the way my mum was parenting me and felt there were things I would of done different and in turn changed them patterns again when raising my tribe.
I'm very laid back in what I want for them, I just want them to be happy no matter what path they take. I don't care what job they have, as long as they are hardworking and happy. I don't care who they love, as long as they're loved, cared for and happy in that relationship. I don't care where they go as long as they're careful, safe and happy. I'm open to them trying alcohol and smoking/vaping because I was a kid once and we all try things. I don't want them off in a park at midnight doing it because they feel it's taboo and they can't try it in the safety of their home. I don't want them having unprotected sex because they don't feel they can come to me for advice or contraception. I don't want them being afraid to bring girlfriends/boyfriends home because they think I'll be embarrassed if they're gay/bi/straight. As long as they're loved and happy. That is all I can hope and pray for.
I recently spoke to my mum about it and she bought me up telling me to have my own life first, university, a career, a car, a house. Then kids. She didn't want me to miss out on my life as she felt, in being a young parent she had missed out on so much in her life. Because as a parent your children naturally come first. I wanted her to understand I may not of done all the things she had wanted for me, or had the life she envisioned me having. BUT I WAS HAPPY. She had not failed. My early life was full of turbulence and I needed that stability. If I had done things differently I dread to think what path I would of taken being an emotionally unstable teenager. Becoming a young mother grounded me, gave me reason, gave my life so much purpose that it had never had before. I finally meant something to someone. I was enough for someone. Even on my worst days. And that someone called me MUM.
Physically if we want to be "healthy" we all know that we have to eat a good nutritionally balanced diet, do the 10,000 steps a day they tell us, and try to do 3x 30 minutes of moderate exercise each week. We all know this right? Because this is advertised and preached on a regular basis by doctors and media alike.
These days however everyone keeps banging on about mental health & wellbeing, but it's hard to actually know how to take care of your own mind isn't it?? With the entire world's population currently going through a pandemic, we are all learning a lot about our own stress and anxiety levels. And it's difficult to know how best to address these, if we have never really had to before.
It is vitally important that we look after our own needs first, otherwise we would never be able to look after other's if we go man down. "you cannot pour from an empty cup." So with that in mind, keep your cup full and allow others to have access to the overflow, if that makes any sense to you guys. IT IS NOT SELFISH TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST, IT IS A NECESSITY.
So this post isn't me preaching and telling you what you must do, it is simply me telling you what works for me, in the hope it will inspire you to take some time out for yourself and find out what works for you.
I'm not going to lie, I am massively struggling with my mental health at the moment. I don't know why because I have so so many things that I am grateful for and blessed with. However I am absolutely bogged down mentally with loneliness among other feelings. Sure I have the Tribe, but it is not the same. They keep me busy, occupied, but I AM STILL ALONE. I cannot talk to my children about my fears, my finances, my feelings, because as parents it is simply unfair to put our emotional baggage onto our children. Sure we can say stuff like "I'm tired guys, give me a hand with chores" or "I can't be arsed cooking tonight kids I'm done in and sore, what do you want from the kebaby?" But we cannot say what we really feel.
I cannot sit down with anyone at the end of a long day of coursework, home schooling, housework, paying bills, keeping the tribe alive and just have a cuppa and put the world to rights can I. At the end of the day it's just me, sat there on my own, engulfed by the silent house and my own thoughts as the tribe sleep.
You mindlessly open up the Fakebook app again and scroll away the minutes, taking a sneak peak into other people's seemingly perfect lives, reading the horror headlines of the media telling us only what they want us to know, doom, gloom and false perfection. It is so so easy to become disheartened that you aren't good enough or you're not as accomplished by playing this comparison game subconsciously. Allowing the negativity to seep in to our conscious thought's and become overwhelmed by the utter disarray in the world at the moment.
So I unplug. I take a step back from all social media. I protect my mind from it. I get out in nature (chronic pain allowing mind!!) I retreat to my soul place. Betws Y Coed/Maenan and I breathe in the fresh air, I plunge my feet in the icy water's of the lake, I allow the current to push the dark water through my fingers, I Kick up Autumn leaves and marvel at the dazzling display of colours and the golden beams of sun breaking through the wilting kaleidoscope of the trees canopies. And I breathe out the bullshit, the worries, the fear, I let it all go.
I rest and recoup, I get my mind back into gear, I oil the cogs. I think about all the things I am grateful for, how beautiful and blessed my life is. I allow the hot water of the hotel jacuzzi bath to wash away any negativity, I close my eyes in the woods and feel the wind upon my skin and dancing through my hair. I Don't believe in God but I do believe in the power of the earth, the universe, mother nature. We are all part of this magical organic planet and we never truly leave.
That feeling you get when you're sat at the beach watching the waves crash against the shore, watching the sunset, the tingles you get up your back and on your arms as the wind hits you. That's the universe telling you, you're not alone. When you're sat in the garden with the log burner crackling and the heat of it warms your soul as you look up into the night sky and watch the stars, the wonder and the awe you feel. That is the universe telling you, you're not alone. When you're sat by the lake watching the autumn leaves swirling in the current of the black abyss that is the water. And you're listening to it making it's way through the maze of rocks as the wind blows, carrying with it the woody smells of the earth around you as you let all your worries and fears float away with it. That is the universe telling you, you're not alone.
I cannot stress it enough, we are children of this earth, whenever you feel bogged down by material shit and life in general. Get back to your roots, get out in nature. Breathe it in.
To you it’s just a handful of conkers, to me it’s a handful of beautiful now distant memories. Every autumn my grandad would go conker picking for the kids. We’d go and see him and he’d say to the kids, open that drawer in the kitchen under the fridge. And there’d be a handful of conkers in there for them..... the last time he went picking he wasn’t too well, he went on his mobility scooter and fell off it reaching for conkers and had to be helped back in it by two ladies. But he still did it for them.
It focking hurts so bad you know. Grief. All that love you can no longer give them. It eats you alive.
You’ll be ok then bam it’ll hit you in the chest out of nowhere leaving you winded. I remember the amount of brews we’d go through putting the world to rights, sitting watching the gee gees with you (horses) that time you put wolf of wall street on whilst I was there and the guy was sniffing coke off a woman’s arse, never seen you fumble with the remote like that to turn the tele over, never bloody did that in my day! You said when you asked me for a cuddle and to sit with you as it’s one of the things you missed the most being on your own was just the company and a good cuddle. I miss your corned beef hash. I miss our oxo brews. I’ve still got a case full of your unwashed clothes that I smell when it gets too much. I read yours and nanas love letters over and over and hope one day for a love like that for myself.
As long as I live, you’ll live. Through me. Through my memories.
You taught me that. You used to say to me, when I go... Don’t be sad because its what you keep in here (pointing to my heart) that counts. Thank you.
September 10th is national suicide awareness day and I want to take a moment to address it and talk about it with you guys as it is something that has affected my life in many ways over the years.
Firstly I myself am a suicide survivor. Possibly one of the only things in life I've put my mind to and failed at, thankfully!! Though in retrospect I don't think for one minute I wanted to die, more I wanted to be heard. I do not like using the term "cry for help" because I think physically having to say to somebody "help" is bollocks, there are so many ways people could be asking you for help without saying it but a lot of us are ignorant or oblivious to them. I'll give you an example...
My Grandad Arthur (One of the only men I've ever fully trusted- I will talk more about him in another blog one day I promise) was widowed in November 2009 after spending over 50 years with his childhood sweetheart, his soulmate. He adored my nana and felt like she'd "saved" him, she gave him purpose. When she passed away he lost his best friend and he was incredibly lonely, heartbreakingly so at times. I carry a lot of guilt about this, I feel as a family we could of supported him better, a select few of us did our best, myself included, I would try to visit him a couple of times a week, either alone of with the tribe. Towards the end of his life he was in and out of hospital A LOT and it was quite difficult to go visit often because he was either in Colwyn Bay or Denbigh hospital which we visited a few times and he told me he'd had a mole removed off his chest and that he had cancer, it didn't really make sense so I told him not to be daft and wait for the results as I'm sure it was nothing to worry about, his last stay in a hospital was January 2016 and I had gone to visit him, we spoke and I sat by his bed and held his hand, he told me he was coming home tomorrow and if he gave me the spare key, could I meet him at his flat and help tidy it a bit as he hadn't been home in a few weeks and things needed a quick clean and he needed his washing doing etc, so obviously I agreed, took the spare key and met him at his flat at the agreed time 17:00.
When I got there he was already there and had been helped in by the ambulance staff, he told me he'd been worried I wasn't able to make it, so I told him to stop being daft, I said I'd be here and here I am. I popped the kettle on and made us both a brew before tackling the massive pile of letters and paperwork that had gathered during his stay in hospital, telling him what each one was and asking him "bin it or keep it?" He kept telling me to stop and just sit down but me being me I wanted to get the place sorted for him so it was tidy, uncluttered and more homely. After a bit he asked would I go to the chippy for him and get him some fish and chips and get myself something too, so off I went to trawlers in town and brought him his tea back, I didn't get myself anything because it was January and I was still high on new years resolutions and bloody dieting haha He kept saying are you sure you don't want any chips? Come and sit with me and have some. I kept insisting I was fine and if I ate one it'd honestly all go to my arse. Once I had cleared as much clutter as I could and put all his washing in the basket ready for wash I sat next to him on the arm of his arm chair and put my arm round him, he put his hand on my lap and held my hand. He turned and said to me "I miss this you know, ever since your nana went, there's nobody to hold of an evening, nobody to talk to, just me and the tv. I just miss a hug, the warm, the company". Honestly felt my heart breaking for him at that moment.
As we were sat there, the phone rang, caller ID shown it was my boyfriends number, at the time ringing and my grandad looked at me and said you're going to have to go love, it's getting late and you know what he's like, you'll get it in the neck. So I gave him one last squeeze and told him I loved him and that I'd try and get his washing to him in the morning. He told me he was in no rush for it so not to worry and he loves me too. The next morning after dropping the kids off at school, I went home to sort grandads washing before going to see him and I got a phone call from my cousin, the first thing she said to me was "are you ok?" which baffled me a bit and I laughed and replied I was and what's the matter? It was at that moment she told me grandads gone....... And it hit like a ton of bricks. Gone. I didn't really understand what was happening, I remember my boyfriend at the time coming home from work but my head was everywhere and I didn't know what to do, without really taking time to think about it I grabbed my spare key and phone and drove to grandads, I presumed family were going to be there etc and let myself in. It is something that will stay with me for life. There was no family there, the first thing I noticed is that it was quiet, scarily quiet. Grandad had COPD and was on oxygen 24/7 otherwise he'd slowly suffocate, but his oxygen machine was turned off and his tubes were left on the little table in front of his chair where we'd been sat the night before. And grandad was by his bed, gone. I sat on the floor next to him and hugged him and held his hand. I'd known grief before but this was different, I adored my grandad, he had been my rock many a time and was more like a dad to me and he always said I was like a daughter to him.
The days and weeks went by and bit by bit the pieces slowly started to come together and make sense. He did have cancer, it was lung cancer, asbestos related if I remember rightly. That day he came out of hospital... he'd discharged himself as he wanted to be at home and he'd only told me, he had asked me to meet him at home as he wanted to spend that last night with me, like he knew. Why me? I presume he'd gone to bed without putting his oxygen on, knowing what would happen. All the time he was telling me to leave the tidying, forget the mess, come and sit with him, eat some chips with him, just stop and be with him. They were his ways of saying help, just be there, be present, spend that time with him before he has to go. And I didn't, yes I was there but was I present, was I balls, I was too worried trying to tidy the flat for him. God I wish I'd of sat with him longer, nicked his chips and ate with him so he didn't have to sit there and eat alone while I cleaned. It eats at me that guilt. I'm not openly saying he committed suicide as I have no proof, there was no letters, my grandad was a bloody strong bright man and I feel it in my heart that he was ready to go but wanted to go on his own terms and knowingly left his oxygen on that table. I just wish I'd of listened, really listened you know but I was ignorant/oblivious. I still have his washing to this day, unwashed, stored away in a suitcase and every now and then when I'm missing him I'll open the suitcase and just smell, and it smells of grandad. Strange the things you miss.
A 77 year old man. A wonderful man. Gone. Could I of changed his mind? Could I of made a difference if I knew? Could eating them damn chips and spending that time connecting with him changed his mind?? I'll never bloody know. But so many people do ask for "help" in various ways I feel before they get to the point of say giving up, I focking hate to say that but I'm telling you it's not giving up, they must of fought so hard, for so long before it got to that point for them and I think it's bravery to of kept fighting. I personally tried to commit suicide when I was 14/15 because I was desperate to be heard, I couldn't make sense of what had happened to me, could no longer get the answers I required and felt like I couldn't tell anybody why I was struggling as I was terrified nobody would believe me. So I took as many pills as I could find and went to bed to go to sleep with the full intent of not waking up. But your body fights, fights the toxins in your system and fights to survive, I woke up chocking on my own vomit and the noise woke my mum up whom once realising what had happened told my dad and they rushed me to hospital.
When Shelby was in hospital this last week, there were 5 children that were in and out of the beds in her ward. 3/5 were there for attempted suicide and self harm. How heart breaking is that? All aged 13-16. So I've sat here pondering, are the most at risk groups the elderly, young teens and men? Why are they the most likely to do these things? What can we do to help? What can we do to change these statistics?? These are only my opinions mind guys and not proven facts.
Teens- Stress of high school and exams, Stress of relationships both sexual and platonic and understanding the feelings involved, Domestic abuse at home either witnessing or physical. Sexual abuse. Bullying.
What can we do to help?? Encourage children to talk about their feelings and emotions from an early age. Be less pressuring as parents in pushing for the best grades and support study and revision more, pay more interest in what THEY want not what WE want for them. Teach them from an early age about sexual boundaries, make them more aware of their body and private parts, teach them what is for them only and what other adults or children shouldn't touch or see, give them more privacy in the shower, encourage them to wash THEIR bits from an early age. Educate on bullying and healthy relationships and boundaries in friendship groups and sexual relationships, encourage practising safe sex.
Men- The pressure of having to be the strong dependable one whom is always the rock for others, the stigma that it's not masculine to struggle or cry. Its weak for men to show emotion or break down.
What can we do to help change the stigma? What can we do to encourage our grandads, dad, uncles, brothers, sons to speak out. To talk more openly about feelings and emotions and help them to better deal with it?
The elderly- Loneliness I would say is the main one here. Feeling like a burden on their family because they cannot do the things they're used to. Living with chronic illnesses and pain and struggling to cope with not being as independent as they used to be and having to rely on others to live a "normal" life.
How can we help them live more independent lifestyles? What can we do to help combat that loneliness, can we rally around as a family and have set days/times that various ones of us go round and spend time with that person? Not to clean or "look after" but to simply spend time with them, make them feel worthy of your time and affection, sit and listen to them, show them they matter and they're loved.
Communication is key. But a lot of people don't really listen to understand. Even looking between the lines for what people are saying. Sometimes help sounds like......
"Come and sit with me and eat some of these chips" - I'm fed up of eating alone night after night, please sit with me and eat so that I don't feel so lonely"
"Are you free for a brew" - I could really do with the company, I'm feeling isolated.
"Do you fancy going for a walk with me" - "I really need to get out and I'm scared to go alone"
"Could you please babysit for the night" - I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by all this responsibility and I'm exhausted and need to recharge my batteries.
or it can even sound like this...
"I'm fine or I'm okay." - are they really or do they feel like they cannot talk about their feelings? How many times have you told someone you're fine and you've not been aa you either think you will be a burden or think people won't care or want to hear?
"I'm busy today, I can't make it." - are they really busy or are they lacking motivation to do to things they used to enjoy?
"Sorry I've got loads of housework to do" - are they keeping busy to avoid stopping and having to feel or think? Are they heading for a crash and burn as they're struggling to deal with emotions or negative thoughts?
I'm not saying all the above will be spot on as sometimes people just need a day to do housework you know and they probably are busy, but If you know there are things going on in their personal lives and they may be struggling then just be mindful. I'm not exactly sure what my point is at this stage or why I told you about my grandad as It's something I don't really speak about as it bloody hurts. But if you are someone who is contemplating suicide or has done in the past, know that there are people who love you deeply, there are people who have special places in their hearts just for you and if you decided you didn't want to be strong anymore, that you would leave a massive massive hole in the hearts of those who love you that could never be replaced, as there's only one you and you are irreplaceable. Because of you someone has a favourite cup to drink out of, someone will smile at a memory of something they've done with you, someone checks their phone wanting your name to pop up, you are somebody's favourite person. If you need help dealing with your emotions reach out to those who love you or join a support group with people going through similar, talking really is the best therapy I promise.
If you have elderly relatives especially widowers or those who live alone, gather the family, rally round them, put a good support network/plan in place between you so they never have to think they're a burden to people and never sit in loneliness left to wonder if anyone cares. Show them they matter, show them they're worthy of the love and affection they freely gave you growing up. My grandad was once absolutely devastated that I had to wipe his arse for him as he was a very proud man, I simply made light of it and told he'd wiped my arse enough over the years and now it had come full circle and was my turn to help him. Encourage your children to be more open and honest with feelings and emotions, divulge some of your own emotions and your own experiences, show them it's ok to struggle, but also show them how important it is to get back up and keep fighting. Keep an eye on your husbands/boyfriends/brothers if they're going through a tough patch, meet up for a regular coffee, check in often, sometimes your company, your time spent being present is all that matter, show them they're not alone and never will be.
People who suffer from depression, or any sort of mental illness, and who share their story -
are not looking for attention.
They are paving the way so that
you know you are not alone.
So that you know that there is Hope.
& so you know that it is ok - to not be ok.
For my grandad, whom I love and miss dearly.
"Its what we hold in our hearts that matters"
William Arthur Routledge
27/2/38 - 29/1/16
This July I turned 30 something and it got me to thinking about what lessons I've learned during my time here, what words of wisdom could I possibly pass on to others, my children or even a younger version of myself?
So here they are, my 30 something things I've learned during my time here.
1) Life is hard, but that's life - no smooth sea made a skilled sailor. Life is also a beautiful, magical thing.
2) Got an elderly relative? Those guys are the most magical purest humans in your life, cherish them. Spend as much time with them as you can, they wont show it often or tell you as they don't want to be a burden but they get incredibly lonely, go around for a brew, listen to their life stories over and over and over again, take their experiences in like a sponge, hug them, hold them, if they're widowed and alone chances are they don't have much physical affection and will miss it, a hug will cheer them right up, sit next to them, hold their hands. Show them they're loved and worthy of affection and your time. Time literally passes in the blink of an eye and one day they wont be here and you will never get that time back or them stories back and you would give to hear them one more time. I don't want you to live with them kind of regrets as I'm telling you they hurt.
3) Nobody is YOU and that is your power. You are a unique piece of sass.
4) Everyone is focked up on some level. Everyone.
5) Mean girls are not just isolated to high school. There will always be a clicky group of nasty bitches that have nothing nice to say about anyone, even each other.
6) Exercise and Nutrition are just as important as maths and English.
7) Mental health is just as important as Physical health.
8) Save money where you can when you can. You'll regret it later if you don't.
9) Every parent is winging it. There's no book on how to be the best parent and even if there is every parent and child is different so it would be a mute point. Do your best, make a mess and be a child with them, childhood is magic.
10) Most women have them annoying stray hairs- be it on your chin, your tummy or your nipple. Plus 99.9% of men and women have insecurities, we all find something about our bodies we're not happy with so you're not alone. But I can 100% guarantee you that NOBODY will see the same flaws in you, that you do, what you hate others will/may find beautiful. We are our own worst enemies.
11) All vaginas are unique, as are penises.
12) A healthy person doesn't aesthetically have to look a certain way. Physical health comes in all shapes and sizes. Health can have stretch marks and cellulite and still be nourished. Drop the stigma that skinny is healthy. Behind that skinny persona may lie bulimia with that person making themselves sick and undernourished, but that girl you called fat? She can deadlift 200kg and eats a vegetarian diet.
13) You can say no, to anything- without justification. Always set healthy boundaries in all areas of your life and stand by them.
14) Always crave intimacy, depth and respect not attention.
15) Never go to bed angry. Sort any issues prior and then forgive and forget. Tomorrow is a new day.
16) If you can't afford to buy it with cash, you can't afford it. Do not fall into the debt trap as once you're in it's a battle to get out of.
17) Its hard but don't let the world and the nasties in it make you bitter, never lower your standards out of upset, un just or anger, stay true to yourself and your journey, do everything in love.
18) You are the sum total of everything that has ever happened to you- every life event, every shit thing the mean girls at school said to you, every bad decision and every adventure. Your past experiences have shaped you into the warrior you are today but they do not define you, for that you must be grateful. Growth is good for the soul.
19) Let it go. Whatever hurts your soul 9 times out of ten is not your burden to carry. If someone hurts you its more a reflection of their character than a reflection of you. Don't take it personally, forgive, forget and let them go if need be.
20) You do not need another person to complete you, we are all drunk on the idea that love alone can save us or heal us, but healing and love start within, love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
21) At the end of the day the only person you can trust is yourself, harsh but true. Have your own back and never depend on anyone for anything, a lot of people are only temporary, only a select few have good intentions for your soul.
22) Never ever stay in a toxic relationship for the sake of the kids. Trust me. It will do them more damage growing up in a toxic environment with two parents than it will living between two single happier parents, no child deserves to grow up in domestic violence walking on egg shells.
22b) No relationship is perfect. Seriously. We all argue, we all have a different opinions, different life values that can class, different boundaries etc etc my advice to you is to lay down values and boundaries early on in a relationship so that there is no upset further down the line, communicate with each other what you want from the relationship, what you will not accept in the relationship and what you wont, find someone whom respects your values and shares similar ones. Find someone you can grow with, life is about growth guys, we change daily, do not be with somebody who keeps you in a box of their own "ideal" and keeps your growth stagnant.
23) Vulnerability is not weakness. Its takes true strength of character to remain soft in such a cruel world.
24) Travel, Travel Travel. People watch. Take in different cultures. Get out in nature, walk barefoot on the grass, dance in the rain.
25) Donate where you can. Be it blood, clothes or food to the food bank. You reap what you sow, good Karma comes back to you. You never know when you may need help one day.
26) Take the damn pictures. Memories fade over time and we can doubt their accuracy, will you always remember the glint in your grandads eyes and will you always remember just how tiny your babies were when they were born or how proud they looked standing on the podium on sports day? I repeat take the damn photo!! You will always have that moment frozen in time.
27) Just because they're blood doesn't mean they have the best intentions for you. Make sure everybody in your boat is rowing, pay special attention to those who don't clap when you're winning. jealousy is a bitch. Keep your circle small in quantity but your quality high.
28) Always try to see it from the other persons perspective, we're committed in this life to misunderstanding others bred by lack of communication. Put yourself in their shoes.
29) Communicate. If you love someone tell them. If you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. Someone's upset you? Tell them. Someone being off with you?? Don't assume it's something you've done and see red, they may be going through a rough patch and struggling, reach out. We're all in this together at the end of the day and we're not mind readers. Communicate, use your heart as well as your ears, listen to understand not just to reply.
30) Nothing stays the same, nor should it. Grow. Make your growth game strong, always be evolving and strive to be a better version of yourself everyday.
31) Other peoples opinions of you are not always truth and most definitely do not define you. Every single person you meet will see a different version of you in their eyes. You cannot please everybody so do you. Live your life for you, because those who matter won't care how you chose to live your life as long as you're healthy and happy, and those who do care really don't matter darling. Cut off those whom do not support your growth and happiness, snip snip.
32) Not everybody has the same heart as you and that's ok. But understand just because somebody may not be loving you the way you want to be loved, doesn't mean they're not loving you with everything they have. And just because you may swim oceans for others doesn't mean they would do the same for you, you will break your own heart with them sort of expectations. Accept others for who they are within reason.
33) You will not always be happy and feel strong and that's ok. You will have sad days and bumpy days and rough times, but like I've said before, no smooth sea ever made a skilled sailor. You got this.
34) Always look for the magic in things, find happiness in the little things. The warmth of a cup of tea in your hands on a cold winters morning, cobwebs glistening with morning dew, the smell of the rain, the feel of sand under your feet, the sound of the ocean, the beauty of a sunset, the sound of autumn leaves under your feet, the wind through your hair, the heat of the sun on your face, the feel of a lovers lips upon your skin, the warmth of your Childs hand in yours, their little laughs and squeals when playing in the garden, their wee faces when your watching them sleep, the sun glimmering through the trees, the elderly couple holding hands walking down the street, the sound of presents being opened on Christmas morning, the beauty of fireworks and the smell of the bonfire, the sound of rain on the windows. Magic is everywhere guys, if you only look hard enough. Life is MAGIC.